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Reasonable Price with Ocean view or nice evening outdoor dining?


I am a UCLA 2005 grad who somehow got stuck in Chicago for grad school...and will be coming back to visit some old friends.

I miss the views of the Pacific...Any suggestions for a reasonably-priced dinner place that has a view? Or a place that has nice outdoor patio for the evening? In Santa Monica, Venice, or elsewhere along west LA? I don't know if any such places exist, but I thought if anyone knows, it would be this board!

I liked some of the suggested restaurants like Ocean and Vine, I just didn't like the price. Something like Violet or a little more expensive would be more in the right price range. Anything that's similar but with a nice view? Or am I reaching for the stars?

Thanks so much!!!

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  1. You want good, inexpensive, food with an ocean view? That's a tough one. I don't think it exists. The ocean front restaurants, that do exist, have marginal food and high prices. Moonshadows is probably the best on the coast, or The Lobster. Catch is my favorite, but there's no outdoor seating. Penthouse at The Huntley Hotel has one of the best views in Santa Monica, also no outdoor patio. All are in the $50/person range.

    There's nothing in Venice except maybe The Whaler, and that's about as divey as you can get.

    Anything in West LA wouldn't have an ocean view.

    2 Replies
    1. re: yogachik

      Inexpensive might be a misnomer...how about like $20 an entree?

      Thanks for the suggestions!

      1. re: canshman

        Moonshadows would fit that, probably, but more like $25 an entree. Or the Charthouse (a chain).

    2. Kincaid's on Redondo Beach pier.....food not mind blowing or anything but solid steakhouse type fare....prices pretty reasonable for the location.

      1. If you forego the ocean view & are ok w/ an attractive patio & reasonable food, a couple of thoughts are: Lula's (solid Mexican, pretty patio in Santa Monica & unlike anything you'd get in Chicago)
        Lily's in Venice (haven't been in a couple of years, but also a nice patio).
        Also, Ocean Ave. Seafood is expensive for dinner, but has great deals on oysters & drinks for happy hour. It's across the street from the ocean in Santa Monica.

        1. One more thought--Back on the Beach in Santa Monica is literally on the beach; you can have an early dinner there and be there for sunset w/ your feet in the sand. Food's ok; nothing memorable, but perfectly fine & the setting's so beautiful that it doesn't really matter. Very casual, beach cafe, reasonably priced.

          1 Reply
          1. re: archer

            Back on the Beach is closed, and has been for some time, during the Annenberg Beach Club construction. I believe it will reopen sometime this year.

          2. Canshman ... I think we crossed paths. I moved from Wheaton, IL in April 2005 and came here, to LA!

            Last 4th of July I took my guy to a fabulous dinner at the Blue Water Grill on Redondo Beach. Their huge plate glass windows offered spectacular views. They have outdoor dining as well. The food was outstanding and the bar is very chic. The prices are reasonable. The servive was great.

            In February, he took me to the Parker's Lighthouse. But that is a bit further south in Long Beach. It was good (not as good as Blue Water Grill) but offered lovely views in a New England setting. The bar on the third floor was a nice place to hang while we waited for a table.

            I have not tried the Chart House in Redondo, yet but have been to their location on Long Boat Key in Florida and it was very good. In fact, my parents who live in Venice, FL (just south of Sarasota, are regulars there.

            I DO NOT recommend The Lobster. For what they charged, the food was mediocre as was the service.

            Moonshadows has a fantastic reputation although it can be difficult to get into on the weekends. The views there are quite lovely.

            Bluewater Grill
            665 N Harbor Dr, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

            1. Does anybody have anything to say about i Cugini in Santa Monica?

              1 Reply
              1. re: canshman

                Been there once, for the Sunday "Jazz Brunch", unimpressive steam table food. That does not rule out dinner (just that I have no experience with it).

                Don't think you will get much view of the ocean, they do have terrace dining, but you are on street level, across the street from the park on the bluff. They are owned by the same folks who own Kings Fish House and Water Grill.

              2. It's been suggested a number of times in response to similar queries and I love the idea: get a cocktail at The Penthouse while you watch the sun set over the ocean and then walk down the street to Musha for a fun and completely affordable dinner.

                1. Dukes in Malibu is ocean front. They tend to have long waits, but the outdoor patio (with great views) is first come seating. To be honest, the food isn't anything exciting... but the patio has a bar menu, so you can get pretty tasty nachos or whatever else. I'd avoid the fresh fish, only because at $30 for a small serving, it shouldn't be slightly below average. They have burgers and fish tacos, etc.. I haven't tried them but I noticed they were about $10 each, so even if they aren't great, you're not out a lot. Oh and skip their mixed drinks and just order a beer or normal cocktail... their margaritas and other tropical beverages weren't good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                    Happened to have this idea yesterday, played tourist, and went to Duke's for late afternoon drinks and food. The service was absolutely AWFUL. Truly the worst service I've had in a long, long, time. The staff was very pleasant, they just weren't there. No one was ever rude, but try getting a second drink, or placing an order, or getting your check.

                    Not that they're understaffed, either. I saw so many in uniform, just couldn't figure out what they were doing, or where our waitress was ( or who she was, we had 3 different waitresses, but started and ended with the same one).

                  2. I love your query -- what could be better than a good-value meal with a great view and the waves crashing below? But pulling it off is a difficult task. Especially when you start thinking about the rents and the parking and the crowds if you get popular...

                    Gladstones gets savaged for mediocre food, but they do have a prime location beach at PCH at Sunset, lots of parking, pretty good drinks and passable food if you keep it simple. Duke's is considerably further up. Chart House grabbed a good location decades ago and does competent chain and Moonshadows has gone through all sorts of incarnations and while not a bargain can satisfy if they are in a stretch where they care and aren't just coasting on perhaps the best venue of all. Going to the Penthouse just makes me ache for the old cheap days of Toppers where the drinks were a lot cheaper and the free food was a lot better than what you pay big bucks for now. The Lobster is an exercise in whether they can jam more patrons than crustaceans into the same small net.

                    1. Malibu Seafood is on the landside of PCH but has great views from the enclosed patio. It's very casual with seating at picnic tables and benches, but the food is good and it's BYOB.

                      1. Well, I know of a place, but it's not in LA county. Deep, deep down OC at Crystal Cove - Beachcomber's Cafe. I thought their dinner is much better than the average chain restaurant. Not gourmet 1 star michelin but much better than what you expect at a beachfront restaurant and their entree prices I think are in the $20 range.

                        The only catch is the wait can be long, and you have to specify to seat outside in the front porch area (not side porch or inside), or you won't get any view.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: notmartha

                          Absolutely agree that one cannot find a better oceanfront restaurant for the price. It is literally on the sand, so you can't get closer to the ocean than this. The view is great. Unfortunately as notmartha has said, the wait can be long because they do not take reservations. Suggest going on a weekday for any meal (B,L,D), and for sure forget about going during the summer!

                        2. There are some places in the Marina that sort of qualify - they're right on the water but not the waves. Yet you can have a lovely outdoor evening. Cafe Del Rey, Shanghai Red's, Cheesecake Factory, the Mexican and Italian places in Mariners Village etc. They're all " as Monty Python would say "very passable" foodwise, reasonable, and scenic.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Jeryy

                            The Italian place is Sapori and I think they even have an outdoor patio. The food is just passable for me.

                          2. Thank you everyone for all of the suggestions! These are great, and I will definitely look into them! If you have any more, keep 'em coming! I am totally looking forward to going back to "70 and Sunny"!!!!!